A 2017 national survey estimates that about 5% of Americans have tried meth at least once. For many users, experimenting with meth leads to a devastating addiction. Meth misuse can severely and negatively affect a person’s health and well-being. People who become addicted to meth often lose their jobs and wind up in legal trouble. Meth addiction can also tear apart families and lead to catastrophic illness.
Treatment can help patients overcome meth addiction. At Indiana Center for Recovery, our experienced staff offers comprehensive, holistic care. We work with patients to treat underlying factors that contribute to meth addiction. Our team supports patients at each stage of recovery. Read on to learn more about meth addiction and treatment.
What Is Meth?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive drug. A powerful stimulant, meth can produce a powerful sense of well-being. People who use meth feel energetic and euphoric. They may be unusually active or talkative. Patients often enjoy these sensations and quickly develop a dependency. More than 1 million Americans use meth each year, and many go on to develop an addiction.
Is It True That Some Prescription Drugs Contain Meth?
ADHD medications sometimes contain a medical form of meth. If used correctly, these medications can help relieve ADHD symptoms. People with ADHD sometimes benefit from these drugs and go on to lead more productive lives. But patients taking medical forms of meth must receive close supervision, as misusing meth can lead to addiction.
How Is Meth Misused?
Meth comes in many forms. Patients may smoke, snort, or ingest the drug. Sometimes, meth also comes in pills. Smoking or injecting meth produces the most powerful effects. However, any form of meth can be addictive.
The effects of meth are usually short-lived—people who are struggling with meth addiction often “binge” on the drug. During a binge, they may take several doses in quick succession. This behavior can help lengthen the sense of euphoria that meth brings. Unfortunately, binging also damages a person’s health.
During a binge, patients may go without food or sleep. They might also make risky decisions, like engaging in unprotected sex while under the influence, or combining meth with other drugs. These unsafe behaviors can cause long-term health problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Short-term effects of meth include:
- Wakefulness or increased focus
- High energy or decreased fatigue
- Lack of appetite
- A sense of euphoria
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- High body temperature
Meth triggers a release of dopamine, which creates a feel-good sensation. Dopamine plays an important role in addiction. Over time, the brain seeks to repeat the behavior that triggered a dopamine rush. Patients begin to experience powerful cravings. They want to use meth more often and in higher doses.
People who misuse meth can build a tolerance quickly. They often find that they need to use more of the drug. Soon, they may have trouble feeling pleasure or happiness when not using meth. If the patient tries to stop taking meth, they may experience intense cravings or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling exhausted, depressed, and anxious.
Long term misuse of meth can also trigger:
- Tooth loss
- Severe weight loss
- Skin problems
- Confusions or disorientation
- Mood swings
- Violent behavior
Meth has a powerful effect on the brain. Sometimes, hallucinations and mood disturbances can persist for years after taking the drug. Long-term meth use can also cause impaired memory and cognition. Patients may have trouble with impulsivity and poor decision-making.
Patients struggling with addiction must get help quickly, and people who have started to misuse meth need prompt care. Medical treatment helps patients pursue recovery, and can help to treat some of the health problems associated with meth use.
Some studies have shown that brain damage caused by meth may be reversible. If patients can stop using, they can achieve healthy brain chemistry. Medical treatment may help restore brain function and prevent permanent physical damage. During addiction treatment, patients also receive the support they need to avoid an overdose.
The Risk of Meth Overdose
People who use meth may suffer a life-threatening overdose. Sometimes, meth raises body temperature to dangerously high levels. People who use meth may suffer seizures or brain hemorrhage. Some also develop organ failure or stroke.
Symptoms of an overdose can include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Hallucinations or psychosis
- Heavy sweating
Meth overdose is a medical emergency. Anyone who suspects an overdose should call 911 right away. Prompt treatment can help save the patient’s life.
What Causes Meth Addiction?
It’s important to remember that anyone can become addicted to meth. Meth is a powerful drug, and people from all demographics can struggle with addiction disorders. However, researchers have identified some common risk factors.
People who struggle with addiction disorders have often experienced:
- An unstable upbringing
- A parent/guardian’s drug misuse
- A mood disorder
- Early exposure to drugs or alcohol
- Past trauma or abuse
People who use meth may misuse other substances, too. They may be a heavy drinker or smoker. Addiction disorders often appear in a cluster. Patients might also be addicted to shopping, gambling, or sex.
Patients struggling with multiple addictions need special care. At ICFR, we offer holistic treatment. Our care team works with many dual diagnosis patients. A well-rounded care program can help patients overcome their addiction and achieve lifelong recovery.
How Is Meth Addiction Treated?
Treatment begins with a detox process. During this process, patients often require inpatients care. A medical detox program ensures patient comfort and safety.
Detoxing from meth can be difficult. Patients may experience painful side effects or powerful drug cravings. Our 24/7 nursing staff provides round-the-clock support. Our full-time psychiatrist can also recommend medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.
During treatment, many patients receive medication. Medication eases symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. It can also treat comorbid conditions which often accompany addiction disorders. Treating these conditions may help reduce the patient’s risk of relapse. Our care team ensures that patients receive medication that meets their unique needs.
Therapy is an essential part of addiction recovery. ICFR uses evidence-based modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). During CBT, patients learn to recognize unhealthy thought patterns. They develop new coping skills and overcome destructive behaviors. Patients may also work on rebuilding their personal and professional lives.
ICFR may use several forms of therapy, including:
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Motivational enhancement therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
We also support families and loved ones affected by the patient’s meth use. Family therapy and marriage counseling can help heal the damage caused by addiction.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab
ICFR offers a wide range of treatment plans, including:
- Medical inpatient detox
- Residential rehab
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)
- Standard outpatient treatment (OP)
Patients undergoing detox or residential rehab stay at the treatment facility full-time. During this phase of treatment, patients receive 24/7 medical supervision and intensive therapy. Our team of compassionate nursing staff delivers round-the-clock support. Residential patients have access to all amenities, including a private chef and in-house nutritionist.
As patients progress through their recovery program, they may “step down” to an outpatient program. Patients in these programs attend rehab during the day, then return home at night. Our team continues to provide support, guidance, and supervision.
In time, patients develop greater independence. They may attend therapy 1-2 times per week or visit with their psychiatrist every month. At this stage, patients are often ready to return to their normal lives.
Life in Recovery
Recovering from meth addiction takes time. For many patients, recovery is a lifelong process. They may need continued support from therapists, sponsors, or recovery groups. ICFR can help patients locate recovery services in their area. We ensure that patients have support systems in place after they finish rehab. With the right services, patients can enjoy lifelong recovery.
If you or a loved one is looking for treatment for a substance use disorder, ICFR can offer personalized guidance. Call our 24/7 helpline at (844) 650-0064. All calls are 100% free and confidential.